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don't talk like these pirates

[I suppose this story is appropriate for today as it has to do with a football team called The Pirates]


Here's the background on this story:

Several high school football players sodomize two younger teammates while at football camp this summer. The molested boys are, of course, threatened with violence if they tell anyone. Quite a few team members witness the sodomizing (administered with broomsticks, golf balls and pine cones) or hear about it soon after it happens.

The attacks are not found out about until one of the molested boys requires surgery to repair the damage done to him and he confesses the whole sordid scenario to his mother.

No one wants to talk about it. Parents are silent. Students are silent.

The media gets a hold of the story and all hell breaks loose. Adults become defensive. School officials feign horror. The students of the school become divided, with some saying - remaining anonymous in interviews - that the participants should be expelled, while the cheerleaders and football players rally 'round the molesters.

The school board holds a meeting and votes unanimously to cancel the football season.

And that leads us up to two days ago, when an impromptu protest was held at the school by students. Kids walked out of class and marched on to the football field, screaming out cheers in some warped version of a pep rally.

Oh, it wasn't all the kids. It was just the football players, the cheerleaders and a few stragglers who thought it was a good way to get out of class.

In addition to the cancellation of the season, the three teens accused of doing the sodomozing have been suspended from school.

So, why cancel the whole season? Why punish the whole team? At least that's what many of the protesters were asking.

There's a good answer for that. It's because the whole team is to blame. If you witness a crime or know about a crime that has happened and you do nothing about it, your are as guilty as the perpetrators of the crime - if not in the eyes of the law, then in the eyes of any decent human being.

There was a wall of silence built around the guilty players. No one would speak up, no one would speak out. Finally, the names of the three were discovered. But no one is confessing to actually being there or knowing about it, even though one would assume that all of the senior members of the team had knowledge of the event, considering it was a hazing.

The students who protested the decision of the school board were more or less supporting the criminal activity of several of their teammates. By rallying around the team, they rally around the acceptance of hazing, the victimization of the JV players, the macho, power-hungry attitudes of the kids present during the sodomy and the zipped mouth silence that prevailed in the aftermath.

The loud protestations of those who are fuming at the school board makes you wonder who they think the victims of this whole thing are? Do they honestly think they have been wronged? What kind of homes do these people grow up in that they have the audacity and the smugness to prance around like they have been wronged when there are three boys - school mates of theirs - who have been basically raped by their fellow students?

Who is holding a rally for the real victims? Who is protesting against the rite of hazing and the players who caused such great harm to others? No one. And you know why? Because the ones who know who the real victims are, the ones who right now feel shame at being a part of this school, the ones who look in disgust as the cheerleaders and jocks run around on the football field protesting a just decision, they are afraid. And so they are silent.

It's just a testament to the culture of sports that is pervasive in high schools all across the states. Said the father of one football players:

"These kids have been practicing since July. We spent money for camp and for equipment and now what happens? All they want to do is play."

Money? Is that what this parent is worried about? What about the kids who are probably scarred for life over this?

Sitting at the same bar, another customer could barely contain his anger. "It [stinks]," he bellowed, not wanting to give his name because his son plans to try out for the football team next year. "There's no way you should take football away from all the kids. The other kids should not be penalized."

Of course they should. They knew. They didn't say anything.

Watch this video of the protests. The parents of every single one of those boys and girls should be ashamed. Maybe when criminal charges are finally filed, these self-centered, spoiled brats who are acting like this is all a big joy ride to notoriety will wise up and realize the gravity of the situation. Maybe not:

"We're just trying to show our unity," said Candace DeFina, who watched from the bleachers. "We want everybody to know that we're going to stick together, that we're going to be a team."

"We're upset. This has been our dream since were freshmen. I guess dreams aren't supposed to be sometimes."

Do I need to tell you why those statements make me sick?

Who's sticking up for the victims?

TrackBack

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Michele Catalano at A Small Victory is doing a great job covering a recent incident at Mepham High School in which members of the football team were sodomized by their teammates at camp. She has a series of posts on... [Read More]

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Comments

Unbelievable. Truly unbelievable. But perhaps this is just an extension of the "Nothing is my fault!" attitude prevalent today. If you didn't actively participate, how can you be held responsible, right? I'm sure if the responsible players are charged, they'll find lots of other people to blame.

I am for standing up for the victims. The kids were abused and even if you didnt take part in it you are just as wrong as not doing anything. I dont care how old you are...you have to know how wrong and evil that is. How hard would it have been to go to a coach and tell them?

I feel especially bad for the victims who with all the coverage must feel like they are be victimized again.

grrr! For the past week I've been having trouble reading your first few posts since your right hand column overlaps your text on your page. This is frustrating because I enjoy reading your blog but after a few minutes, just move on since I can't read the whole thing. Is there any way you can fix this?

See what happens with the ridiculous overemphasis of these sports both in high school and in college.

Sickening...absolutely sickening. They should ban ALL current players on that schools team from playing for the REST of their time in high school. That may be the only way to break the cycle of hazing. Let next years freshman class put together the entire team and not have to endure any type of hazing from the seniors.

It's nice to see that these students and their parents value education so much.

Ick.

Similar but not nearly as egregious incident in Baton Rouge this week, where junior high football players "simulated sex acts" fully clothed in the locker room. Some of these kids are getting criminal assault charges, which from the accounts I've heard seems to be a severe overreaction.

I think we've lost some perspective in this overly protective and litigious culture. Obviously kids who rape other kids with broomsticks and pine cones deserve the most severe punishment that is appropriate, and the reaction of the parents and other students in this case indicates an abdication of responsibility and a willingness to overlook criminal acts in service of the sports culture. Nonetheless, we seem to have lost the ability to distiguish horseplay from hazing.

When we lump together truly awful acts like the situation you describe with the sadly typical behavior of ordinary kids going too far, it diminishes the truly awful acts.

Sorry, didn't mean to post anonymously.

First, I think Ryan sums the entire thing up perfectly. Ick, Indeed.

Second, I've been thinking about saying this on several blogs over the last few days, but I'll say it here. The number of thinking, responsible, accountable people in the world grows linearly each year. The number of brain-dead, guiltless, self-indulgent, self-important, narcissistic half-wits grows exponentially.

Someday soon we'll have to convince them that electric dog collars are all the rage, then use aversion therapy on them.

Now I'm gonna go kick something.

Wow what a nightmare. I am in awe these folks are bent out of shape because of money! (oh and their kid wasn't directly involved)

One small, minor correction..those boys were not "basically raped,"...they were raped, plain and simple.

Re: Hondo

This is not the fault of "overemphasis" of anything, it's the result of a group of individuals doing something very, very wrong. If anything, this is the result of the UNDEREMPHASIS of moral values taught to the molesters and passive contributors. This is not a part of "football culture" on any level, and certainly not a result of any sort of football "fanaticism." Let's focus on the real issue here, and that's the individuals personally responsible for the act. Turning this into a "sports are degrading our moral fiber" discussion excuses the guilty and trivializes the victims.

"For their own sake, they shouldn't be playing," the parent said as Mepham students were dismissed. "Their heads aren't going to be into it. The other teams will harass them."

Holy cow. Talk about taking the 'For the Children' mentality to a whole new level of surreal. They shouldn't be playing because they might get harrassed? Give me a jumbo-sized break.

A bunch of NYC cops went to jail for doing this to someone. These gorillas should be glad that all they're losing is their football games.

Let's see. The football players and their parents (and let's not forget the lovely cheerleaders)are calling themselves 'victims'. The 3 boys who were violated with pine cones (not 'victims'?)will only become real victims if they tell anyone what happened and who was involved. Wrong is 'the victim', right is wrong. Sheesh......I'm moving soon, but I've crossed Bellmore off my list. School district sucks.

They're whining about the lost chances at scholarships, too. Any college whose admissions dept. lets even one of these dirtbags in with a record like this should be decertified (sorry, Michele, 'brats' didn't do it for me).

It's pretty sad when I start agreeing with Newsday writers. It also shows how out of touch they've become in Bellmore.

Ahoy, mateys.....

WG, LI

Can you imagine the shame that the kids who were raped will have to bear for the rest of their lives? I am glad that football/cheerleading was canceled for the year. But what kind of lesson is that going to teach anyone, though? Maybe they should kick all the current players off the team and recruit new blood -- and watch them like hawks.

The problem with team sports in any high school (and I say this with no experience in team sports, for the record) is that, in building a sense of teamwork among (most) of its members, it creates this illusion of being better than the masses. Most of the boys on my high school team were losers when they were out of uniform, but once that uniform was on and the photographers from the local paper were storming the stadium, they became gods. What did that mean? They were untouchable. And it's precisely that attitude that carries them off the field and into reams of trouble like this. I know we can't rape the perpetrators with broomsticks, but it just doesn't seem like enough of a punishment to suspend high school athletics. In good news, though, I have to say I'm glad that these little assholes won't be qualifying for athletic scholarships, where they would probably just go on to rape and terrorize young women in their dorms. But that's just my two cents.

Wow, I wonder what these parents would say about the catholic priests who abused parishioners? Or the bishops who kept shuffling them around from parish to parish?

Sick.

The nightmare under-culture of men, sexual sadism, thwarted homosexual desires, and the resulting violence never ceases to disgust and horrify me.

D

I love sports, but there is an over-emphasis of sports in our society. When a semi-literate 20 year old basketball player can make $10 million a year shooting hoops but we can't afford to pay our public school teachers a living wage or keep our transportation infrastructure repaired, things have obviously gotten out of whack. Our obsession with sports didn't cause those young men to commit their crimes, but it did create a general environment where it was easier for things to go that far astray.

There is no easy solution to the problem. The only way to change things is for each of us to reflect on keeping our enjoyment of sports in balance with the rest of our lives. I'm not foolish enough to hold my breath waiting for that to happen, though...

Interestingly enough you're comparing publicly funded things (schools, roads) with private and purely free-market systems (professional sports). Why teachers don't get paid more than they do is a completely separate topic and has nothing to do with sports. The potholes in the road are not caused by Kobe Bryant.

Even if they were, I fail to see how this emphasis (or overemphasis, if that's your opinion of it) on sports would be a cause of this kind of behavior. If it WERE, we'd see lots more of it. While I'm sure this goes on other places and we never find out about it, not EVERYONE is doing it.

The solution to this problem has nothing to do with sports. The solution is for parents to raise their kids not to do stupid sh*t like this. Period. A culture/emphasis/feeling of god-like-status may be opening the door for the kids to do these kinds of things, but if they didn't have the desire to do them in the first place it wouldn't matter, would it?

But I'm not holding my breath either.

Idiots. The lot of them.

I'd recommed lining them up and administering the broomstick to them, but why do that to a poor defenseless broomstick?

This is not horseplay, this is rape. And needs to be dealt with as such. Those supporting it need to be dealt with as accomplices after the fact.

Maybe spending a few thousand on a criminal defense will wake some of these folk up.

The just keeping-quiet team members, if I was the super, wouldn't be playing again in their highschool years. In ANY school. (The active rapists, of course, will be spending the rest of their highschool and college years in prison, where they may learn more about rape.)

How did we get to this?

Pete, it makes no difference that public schools are funded in a different manner than privately owned sports teams - in both cases the original source of the money is the American public.

I'm not suggesting that people should not enjoy sports - as I mentioned, I love sports myself (BTW, my Sooners kicked some Bruin a$$ today). And I tried to make it clear that I wasn't saying that society is to blame for these specific criminal acts. However, it's obvious to me that our priorities have gotten out of balance. There's no direct linkage between money for Kobe (in the broad sense of all our non-essential expenditures) and money for schools, but to claim there's no connection at all is to ignore the elephant standing 10 feet in front of you.

The parallels between our culture and that of the Romans are kinda hard to miss. When the importance of recreational activities becomes greatly overemphasized in a society over an extended period of time, bad things are going to happen.

I can't even begin to understand a parent saying this

"I blame the school district because they let it happen," the parent, who did not want to be identified, said yesterday afternoon. "A lot of the problems they have is due to lack of supervision at the camp."

because there wasn't enough supervision, kids will logically rape other kids. I never needed anyone to tap me on the shoulder and say, "hey don't rape any teammates tonight okay?"

though actually when you think about it, maybe they do need more supervision, the kinds that can only be done in a prison.

I must be completely oblivious to the elephant, then, because any connection, save the academic, is completely lost on me.

Society is not falling into ruin on account of sports or any alleged over-emphasis on it. That, my friend, is merely a symptom of the greater problem. Let's not confuse our cause and effect.

Typical shitty jock attitude. I should probably be over it by nowm, but this is the sort of shit allthe non-jocks had to deal with in high school; coddling these cry-baby football prayers. (Inlcuding my brothers, by the way.) They have a sense of entitlement and their parenst simply indulge it because thay can share the glory. One of my brothers broke up with his cheerleader girlfriend when tehy were JUNIORS in high school and the girls mother swas devasted to the point of crying and callng my mother. My mom just about fell oh the floor laughing. I guess the reason I'm not over this is that the same attitude exists among the same idiot jock types or their adult equivalent in the work force. I thad a very much appreciated respote fom this crap when i attended a small Catholic university that eliminated all of it's big inter-collegiate sports programs in the 1970s and dumped all that wasted money nto academics and camopus ministry.

I wish the high schools would do the same.

Somehow this doesn't surprise me. Perhaps because when I was in high school, I was raped by a few older boys (I don't know if they were on any sports teams or not) and when I told the school, I was given detention for "starting trouble". (I was, for the record, 12 -- high school started in grade 7 -- they were 13-16.)

I left the school and didn't do anything else about it. So I certainly understand why the victims kept quiet -- and alone of the people involved, don't blame them for not saying anything. And, unfortunately, I'd've been shocked if anyone else had said something.

these fuckin idiot jocks have taken over the world.
They are only doing what tradition dictates.
They are only following instructions.
They are only following orders.
Sound familiar??
A bunch of goddamn Nazi's, we are, and we will reap our rewards.
We are the conclusion to the Nazi parties Final Solution. The uber race.....
Wheres Klaus Barbie when you need him?? The butcher of Lyon could teach these meat head jock-spawn a thing or two....

I am just afraid that by the time this gets to court it wil have been forgoten by the press and every one else. I want to see those three guys hang. If they like ass play so much I am sure a few years behind bars will give them lots of time for it. Do onto others!!!!!

I wanted to be shocked at this, but given the worship of sports over academics and the fact that no one seems to have learned from Columbine, the Mepham crew should be glad the kid told his Mom, instead of showing up at the school with an uzi. How many classes could be added, books purchased, teachers hired if school was for learning and not just to fill the void between practice sessions. This attitude, combined with the pathetic behavior that passes for parenthood today, with parents living vicariously through their children, has lead to what heave in Mepham. More supervision? Where were the parents during the camp? Why were no parents or coaches present in the team cabin? Off partying on their own maybe? I had friends whose kids went to Columbine. A jock sexually harrassed her daughter. She complained to the goof who is supposed to be the principle. She was told it was her daughter's fault and that she should remove her daughter from the school, if she didn't like the environment. Nothing has changed there...jocks still run the place. The only cure is to have athletics removed from the school systems and replaced by local sports clubs, which jock parents can fund, run, and manage. College scouts can then go there and look for talent. We inherited this stupid school team crap from England...time to dump it. Other schools around the world (other than form British Empire colonies) do not engage in sports teams in school...it is considered distracting. This is an act of violence and power, not sex. These punks are criminals and sghould be charged with aggravated sexual assault and any team meber who was present, but did not report it should be charged as an accessory after the fact. The parents should be publicly shamed for concerning themselves about their brats' "dreams" (their dreams in reality) or the effect on their pocket book.."we've spent money"...perhaps it woould have been better spend in taking time to be with your kids, instead of raising cretins and psychopaths....but then you wouldn't have any time left for yourself. I see so many parents who treat their kids like pets or accessories, duping themselves into beleiveing thatlittle Johnny or Suzy is more special than anyone else in the world...teachers continue this. So why are we surprised when the cold, hard slap of reality jolts them out of their suburban conspicuous consumption-induced dreams? Hard, rigid accountability for each offender...and then the parents of the victims should go after the parents of the offenders.....if the judge can give them time...then thousands of hours of community service...to be performed during what would have been football practice and whenever there is a football game broadcast.

There is a school in Denver, Regis university, run by jesuits. Ithas no sports teams of any kind, but has a glowing list of docotrs, scholars, laureates, Pulitzer, and I think some Nobel prize winners....they advertise these numbers....a long list. At then end of the commercial, the announcer says "Wow...and all this without a football team!"

I played high school football for a few years. I stopped playing when I heard that we had to go to JV camp and should expect to be hazed by older players.

This stuff is COMMON knowledge amongst the coaches. It is part of the stupid macho garbage that these guys feel is necessary to make their players tough. I GUARANTEE you that the coach knew hazing was going on. Maybe he didn't know it would involve sodomy, but I'm sure he knew it would at least involve some towel whippings and heads being flushed in toilets. Football coaches are natural bullies and I'm sure the Bellmore coach engaged in plenty of hazing when he was a young tyke. The bottom line is, the schools are allowing this crap to go on and people need to come to their senses and stop it. Does it really benefit the schools at all? Of course not. Football players are in general some of the worst students that a teacher can have. I wish someone would post these "kids" names (17 should know better, I did) so that they and their parents can be ridiculed. They deserve it. If you raise a person nasty and stupid enough to do what these kids did, you deserve what you get.

Bellmore had the same trash reputation when I was in college back in the 60's, largely due to the loud, foolish behavior (very similar to the video "protest" you link to) they felt compelled to exhibit. One had the impression that these guys (who weren't so bad one-on-one) weren't at fault in the sense that they had been raised by adults without any sense of class or self-regard, and I'm sorry to see that that seems not only to still be the situation in Bellmore, but now over most of the rest of the country, as well. I think alcohol's a major factor, too -- perhaps not in the sodomy incident specifically, but in the "it's all spring break" attitudes of the young fools. Too bad the culture regards marijuana as the evil drug; could be just what these folks need.

lol.....jocks are funny if you slip em some joints.....